Today I’m looking at maintaining and improving your translation skills. Ongoing development of your existing translation skills is quite distinct from initial translator training, and needs to be approached differently too.
The second in an occasional series on CPD. First one: What is CPD?
Ryan Ginstrom summed it up very well when he said in his post on Becoming a better translator:
“No matter how good your grasp of the source and target languages, if you can’t accurately reproduce the effect of the original, then you’re not a translator; you’re just a bilingual. I look for good translations, and study them. When I read English, I’m on alert for pithy turns of phrase that can work for tough-to-translate Japanese terms.
I also have the translator’s curse: always thinking about how I would translate a particular Japanese phrase, and critiquing translations I see. It makes it very hard to enjoy subtitled movies, but it does put me in the mindset of thinking about translation…”
In this way, we can constantly work to improve our translation skills.
Here are some more resources for polishing your translation skills. Most of them are delivered online or by distance learning, unless otherwise stated. Courses requiring fees or a financial outlay are marked with an asterisk.
- Anthony Pym has a great series of videos on exploring translation theories (he is also director of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili’s doctorate in translation studies, which is delivered largely by distance learning).
- The Université de Genève has a rather fantastic resource here, with talks on aspects of law, EU affairs, healthcare, etc. The site is aimed at helping to train interpreters, but is a great resource for translators too.
- Many universities now offer masters degrees in translation or linguistics by distance learning. As with all commitments to further education, it’s important to check whether the focus is on theory or on practice, and to consider carefully whether this will suit your needs.*
- A translation summer school such as this one in Mainz, Germany may not be for everyone, but it might be worth checking if schools in your area offer something similar.*
- There’s a list of translator-training schools here: many also run CPD sessions for practising professional translators.*
- The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) Diploma in Translation is another option to formalise your translation skills, with a couple of sources of preparation courses by distance learning.*
- Long list of distance courses at all levels for translators, interpreters, subtitlers, and terminologists. Many are out of date but it’s a good starting point.*
- Various courses on terminology available through the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.*
What techniques do you have for refining your translation skills?